Will Edwinson

Author & Storyteller

BEAM ME BACK, SCOTTY—BACK TO 1950!

HeadShot_burnedGreetings, Friends:

I’m mad as hell.  I’ve spent a very frustrating last two days trying complete a simple little task with my cell phone.  Let me take a few minutes to bring you up to date.   About ten years ago, give or take a couple, I signed up with Verizon wireless for cell phone service.  Lest you misunderstand me, I want to make it clear  that I have no complaint with Verizon.  Their service over the last few years has been very satisfactory.  My beef is with this world of modern technology and the Internet.

When I first signed up with Verizon, there were no Blackberries i-phones, i-pads, i-pods, smart phones, etc., etc.  The cell phones back then were basic phones much like the regular phones that we used through Ma Bell.   This was great.  I enjoyed having a phone when I was in remote territory where a land line was unavailable.  But that has changed with the addition of these new fancy devices, and in my opinion, not for the better.  I have many reasons for saying not for the better, but I’ll save those for another post.

My current dilemma started when my two youngest daughters found out I was still using a ten year old phone. They called it my pet dinosaur, and said, “Dad you’ve got to upgrade to a newer phone.”

I said, “Why, this phone works perfectly fine. Why should I get a new one?”

“Because that phone is outdated,” they said.

“So, what?” I said. “It still serves my purpose.  I can still talk to people from it, so why should I get a new one?”

“Because the newer ones have so many more features,” they said.

“Why do I need more features?” I asked.  “All I need is something that I can talk to people with when I’m not near a landline.”

“But you can text people from these newer phones, and do lots of other things with them, like take pictures, for instance.”

Old Nokia Cell Phone

My old Nokia phone

“I can text people from this phone, and I already have a fairly good camera,” I said. “I don’t need another one. And why do I need to text people when I can talk to them direct?  Besides, I’ve heard you have to pay through the nose for those text messages,  so much a word.  Why should I waste good money on that when I can talk to the people direct for just the regular monthly service charge?”

Big sigh. “We give up,” they said, “you’re  hopeless.”

“Yes,” I said, “I suppose I am, but you love me anyway, right?”

They laugh.  “Yes, we love you anyway,” they said.

Well, now having said all that,  my old Nokia started demonstrating the ravages of old age (like me).  I was making occasional trips between Arizona and Idaho, and I didn’t relish the thought of having car trouble out in the middle of an Arizona or Nevada desert during the summer without some form of communication.  I decided perhaps I should consider a newer phone just as a backup.  I bought a Trac-Fone smart phone.  Big mistake.  The phone was smarter than I am,(or dumber, I haven’t figured out which) and I couldn’t figure out how to use the d****d thing.  I never could get it to work when I needed it, so I tossed  it.

Then one day out of the blue, I received a card in the mail from Verizon Wireless that said they were offering their customers  a free “basic” phone and would wave the upgrade fee.  “Eureka,” I said, “This is like Manna from Heaven,”    and I immediately contacted them and said I would accept their offer, which brings me to the point of this blog post.

New Cell Phone

New Cell Phone

All went well, they sent me my new phone, and with the help of my son-in-law, we got it set up and ready for use (even this new phone required a bit more than just charging it up to start using it). Then I got to wondering if  the caller ID that I’d originally signed up for on my original plan was the same on this new phone as it was on the old one.  I called a friend and asked if my name and number showed up on the caller ID.  This friend’s reply was no, just the location of where it was from, and the telephone number.  (I might add here that I got to keep my same original phone number with this new phone.)

So here is where the frustration that I mentioned at the beginning of this post started.  I might mention here that when it comes me having anything to do with the Internet, I’m a mental retard.  (Yes, I know in this age of political correctness the term mental retard is a no-no, but you know what; I’m 80 years old, now, so I don’t care a whittle about what people think.  I can say whatever I darn well please and get away with it.  🙂 )  Now where was I?  Oh, yes, I was talking about the Internet.  Those computer geeks don’t speak English.  They’ve devised a language all their own that they use.  It’s made up of acronyms, apps, and #hashtags, that old geezers like me don’t have the foggiest notion of what in blazes they’re talking about.

And the instructions that were sent with the phone were printed on a sheet of paper about the size of a business card, and the printing requires a watchmaker’s lens to read.  Very inadequate for someone like me to get to know how to use the phone.  Now remember, folks, all I’m trying to do here is complete a simple task of changing the caller ID from  showing the name of the location the call originated from, to that of the name of the caller.  I go online to see what I can do.  No help there.  It was like reading a foreign language.

The Verizon store is only a half-mile away, so I decide to go there for help.  The only help I received there was some information on how to navigate Verizon’s website on the Internet.  I go back home and call Verizon direct, and was connected with a very nice young lady who was very patient with this old codger, and we proceeded to solve my problem.  We worked for two hours, and everything we tried ended with the same result; a message that read to the effect, “were sorry, the information you have provided doesn’t match what we have on file for this account.” Grrrr! So, as of this writing, I still haven’t solved my problem.  Damned Internet, anyway.  I’ve heard that Algore has made the claim he’s the one who invented the Internet.  At this point, I’m ready to slap him up the side of the head with a 2×4. 🙂 (Yes, I know I spelled his name wrong, but I explained that in an earlier post.  No need to go over it again.)

See ya next time.  I’ll let you know how things turn out if I get this problem solved.   One last thought, even the new cars with all their modern electronics and GPS are getting too complicated to drive. “Beam me back, Scotty,  back to 1950—and leave me there.”  🙂 

1949 Packard sedan

1950 Packard. A great automobile.

P.S. BREAKING NEWS: Hooray!!!! This is the third day. I just got the above problem solved.  So if any of you receive a phone call from me on my cell phone, my name will appear on the caller  ID so you will know it’s from me instead of a telemarketer.  🙂

Now, if you’re not too tired of reading this post, perhaps you’d like to read a little bit about my latest novel.  The flyer below gives a short synopsis.

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Also available at barnes&noble.com in print version and all five e-reader devices.

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